Author Topic: How to tell if you cylinder head has been replaced?  (Read 721 times)

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Offline CoastyAV8R

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How to tell if you cylinder head has been replaced?
on: September 16, 2020, 08:52:01 PM
I notice some valve train noise in my 2013 Tiger (10,800 miles) so I read up on the cam bucket problem and subsequent cylinder head replacement.  I called the local Triumph shop to see if they could look it up to see if the cylinder was replaced by the previous owner and they said they don't see anything but that doesn't mean it wasn't done.  I read that a head that was replaced would have a dot on the head but not much more than that.  Can anyone who had their cylinder head replaced confirm if this is true and if so where this "dot" might be? 

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Offline Jon

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Re: How to tell if you cylinder head has been replaced?
Reply #1 on: September 17, 2020, 03:39:10 AM
I've never heard about a dot on the head. Mine was the first TEX head replacement in Iowa, per Service Bulletin 474. Triumph is still replacing heads on all affected 1200 triples up through VIN 602960. One way to find out if yours has been done is to go into a reputable Triumph dealer and tell them you have a '13 Explorer with a lot of noise in the head and tell them you would like to request a head replacement. That has always been the criteria to get the ball rolling The customer only needs to request it and then the dealer contacts corporate & they need to OK the process to get a work order started. If nothing comes up after a dealer runs the VIN then it hasn't been done. Your local Triumph dealer should know this. It's a 7 year old issue... Where you located Fly Boy? Woops, I see it now, you're in Bend Oregon. Hopefully someone in your locale will pipe up & give a name of someone else in your neck of the woods.
Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 03:41:32 AM by Jon
Jon

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Offline CoastyAV8R

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Re: How to tell if you cylinder head has been replaced?
Reply #2 on: September 17, 2020, 03:46:50 AM
Thanks Jon, I live in what use to be God's country (Bend Oregon) until it all caught fire now I feel like the Omega Man after the apocalypse.  You a Coasty? 

I actually called Triumph America today and they ran the VIN and found the head hasn't been changed on mine.  The closest dealer is in Portland Oregon 4 hours away so it's a bit of a pain to get the bike over there but if I could convince them to swap the head out it would be worth the effort.  How many miles were on yours when they replaced the head?  When did you hear the noise (at idle, cruising speeds, wide open, etc)?  I hear some valve train noise at idle but mostly going down the road at normal speeds.  I was thinking I'd just adjust the valves as that's what it sounds like it needs but that's when I read about the cam bucket issue and realized it could be a bit deeper than a valve adjust.

Pat

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Offline Jon

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Re: How to tell if you cylinder head has been replaced?
Reply #3 on: September 17, 2020, 05:15:28 AM
Hey Pat. I'm a Midwesterner in SW Iowa (Think Heaven...). No fires here, but we did get in on those weird Derecho winds that tore a 740 mile stretch of hurricane winds across the Midwest a few weeks ago. I really feel for you folks out on the left coast. Those fires have been devastating.

I don't recall the exact mileage when mine was replaced, but it was around 6,000 if I recall correctly. I always thought my head area was overly noisy (only really noticeable at an idle & up to maybe 1200 RPM) and even my dealer agreed & had me bring it in when an area Triumph rep showed up about a month after I got it. The rep had no idea if it was noisy enough to be a mechanical issue so we just dropped it. I was assured that if anything happened because of the noise, they would take care of it. Since it was a new model (I ordered it in December of 2011) there weren't any bikes to compare it to at the time and it wasn't until the Cam Bucket SB showed up  a year or so later that anyone got very excited about it. My dealer called me up one day & told me they had ordered the parts and would let me know when they came in. Winter rolled around before we got the work done & then the head replacement SB was issued so they did that instead of the cam buckets.

If Triumph agrees to fix it, PLEASE, let them do it. There have been numerous incidents where valves have bent and engines basically exploded. In my opinion Triumph should have made it a recall instead of a SB. My dealer agrees with me to the point where they replaced every head on every Explorer & Trophy that they got in from Triumph. Several were done as soon as they hit the showroom. I've never heard of a serious injury from someone going down on one where the engine locked up, but you have to know it's going to happen someday...

Be sure to keep us up on your progress with this.




Jon

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Online CaptainTrips

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Re: How to tell if you cylinder head has been replaced?
Reply #4 on: September 17, 2020, 11:46:16 PM
*Originally Posted by CoastyAV8R [+]
Thanks Jon, I live in what use to be God's country (Bend Oregon) until it all caught fire now I feel like the Omega Man after the apocalypse.  You a Coasty? 

I actually called Triumph America today and they ran the VIN and found the head hasn't been changed on mine.  The closest dealer is in Portland Oregon 4 hours away so it's a bit of a pain to get the bike over there but if I could convince them to swap the head out it would be worth the effort.  How many miles were on yours when they replaced the head?  When did you hear the noise (at idle, cruising speeds, wide open, etc)?  I hear some valve train noise at idle but mostly going down the road at normal speeds.  I was thinking I'd just adjust the valves as that's what it sounds like it needs but that's when I read about the cam bucket issue and realized it could be a bit deeper than a valve adjust.

Pat
My '13 TEX was done at 500 miles by my dealer before it was sold as a pre-emptive correction. The risk is catastrophic engine failure when a valve loses its head, which is what happens eventually. If you can get a diagnosis and a green light from Triumph, I would strongly recommend getting it done. Typically, engine failures have happened around the 15 to 25k mile mark.

More info here:

https://www.tiger-explorer.com/index.php/topic,17989.0.html

BTW, the valves do not get noisey when they need adjusting on these bikes. The clearance goes to zero and then the engine loses compression and starts burning exhaust valves.
Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 11:47:53 PM by CaptainTrips
"The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test."   --   Robert M. Pirsig

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Offline CoastyAV8R

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Re: How to tell if your cylinder head has been replaced?
Reply #5 on: September 18, 2020, 12:48:24 AM
*Originally Posted by CaptainTrips [+]
My '13 TEX was done at 500 miles by my dealer before it was sold as a pre-emptive correction. The risk is catastrophic engine failure when a valve loses its head, which is what happens eventually. If you can get a diagnosis and a green light from Triumph, I would strongly recommend getting it done. Typically, engine failures have happened around the 15 to 25k mile mark.

More info here:

https://www.tiger-explorer.com/index.php/topic,17989.0.html

BTW, the valves do not get noisey when they need adjusting on these bikes. The clearance goes to zero and then the engine loses compression and starts burning exhaust valves.

Thats what I fear which is why I am being proactive with this.  The rep at Triumph America said if they were to do this it would be a "goodwill" and submitted to Triumph in the UK for approval as mind doesn't show the head had ever been done.  I"m not holding my breath on this and realize I may be on my on my own.  I wish there was a way I could tell if the head had been done and perhaps just not captured by the Triumph database.  Unfortunately the previous owner is the kind of guy who drops a bike off for work and doesn't even ask what they did.   The bike runs great and the valve train noise I hear I wouldn't worry about except for having read about the cam bucket issue. 

Reading about it, there is a difference between the cam bucket and soft valve guides so where does the problem lie, in the valve guides or cam bucket?  If Triumph won't install a new head, can't I just put the correct valve guides in the existing head and be in the clear? 

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Offline CoastyAV8R

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Re: How to tell if you cylinder head has been replaced?
Reply #6 on: September 18, 2020, 03:32:30 AM
This is what the service manager of the local shop sent me regarding the repair.

"I have never seen any information from Triumph about changes to the valve guides.  In our experience the only design change is taller exhaust valve buckets and corresponding machining to the head to accept these buckets.  According to Triumph is was not a flaw but a design update for quieter valve train operation.  Also valve guides are not available separately; only as part of the cylinder head. "

So that answers my question as to what is different with the new head.  Any idea where I can get a service manual, paper or electronic?  Not looking for a freebie, just need to get one...

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Online CaptainTrips

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Re: How to tell if you cylinder head has been replaced?
Reply #7 on: September 18, 2020, 11:58:58 PM
The attached service bulletin explains pretty much everything. The cause of the issue was soft valve guides. The remedy was to replace the head. The valve guides cannot be changed, hence the head replacement. Show your service guy a copy of this bulletin.

For out-of-warranty bikes, Triumph usually provides the parts as a good-will gesture and you pay the labour.

The cam bucket discussion was an early guess at what the problem was. It was ultimately determined to be soft valve guides.

BTW, Triumph corporate supplied the heads and other parts and paid the labour for dealers to make this fix. There is very little chance (really none) that they do not have a record of your bike being done. They would be able to tell you the date and the mileage and who did the work. They did for my bike when I asked.
Last Edit: September 19, 2020, 12:06:15 AM by CaptainTrips
"The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test."   --   Robert M. Pirsig

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Offline anaheimtex

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Re: How to tell if you cylinder head has been replaced?
Reply #8 on: September 19, 2020, 09:51:24 PM
mine (2014) was done at 26000 miles due to loss of compression.  parts were paid but labor was not since it was 1 month out of warrantee.  basically everything from the top of the pistons up was replaced.  now at 36000 miles and no issues.  No unusual noise or clanking but had hot start issues.  found one of the exhaust valve guides deformed so 1/2 of the valve would not seat.  actually very noticeable when I saw the head off the bike.  2013 is a long time ago and I would be surprised if T did anything unless a full blown recall was issued. 
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